Indian Refining Company

Fact Sheet #12
November 2006

Lawrenceville, Illinois

Background

The former Indian Refining Company/Texaco Refinery site property consists of approximately 990 acres immediately southeast of Lawrenceville along Route 1. It is bordered on the south and west by wetlands, agricultural land and residential areas. The Embarras River forms the eastern boundary, and residential areas are located north of the site. The facility operated as an active petroleum refinery from the early 1900s until the mid-1990s. Waste areas across the site contain process-related wastes such as lube oil filter clay sludge, acid sludge, tank bottoms, leaded fuels and other materials. The site was investigated by the Illinois EPA, nominated to the National Priorities List of Superfund Sites in 1998, and became final in 2001.

In 1996, a residential area adjacent to Indian Acres (at the northeast part of the site) was referred to U.S. EPA for a removal action. Acidic tar-like waste material was removed from several residential properties during fall 1996 and fall 1997. Additional investigation in other residential areas in the spring of 2000 revealed no new areas of this type of waste material. Demolition of the main refinery units began in 1998 and was completed in 2004. The State of Illinois and ChevronTexaco (now Chevron) have entered into a Consent Decree, which directs Chevron to conduct a Remedial Investigation (RI) and Feasibility Study (FS). The Remedial Investigation began in November 2001 and is to be complete in spring 2007.

Is the Remedial Investigation complete?

Except for a couple of areas that Illinois EPA requested some further data, consultants for Chevron have completed all the testing of soil, sediment and water (both surface water and groundwater) to provide the information necessary to assess the site. A final report is expected to be submitted to the Illinois EPA in the first quarter of 2007.

Is there any reason for concern in the residential areas that are adjacent to the former refinery?

Two areas around the perimeter of the site are being investigated regarding the extent of contamination that has gone “off-site.” One area is on the west side of Route 1, near the former Tank Farm D and the Buckeye pipeline. A plume of hydrocarbon product (some type of gasoline or diesel) has moved off-site to the north and might impact a small area in the Kirkwood Addition. Chevron has spoken to all the property owners and obtained permission to test the groundwater there.

Another hydrocarbon plume, along Crackle Street (12th St.) has also been defined. In both areas, the contamination is below ground surface, so there should be no concern about residents coming in contact with it.

Are there currently any health risks associated with any of the site contaminants?

While health risks may exist for anyone who comes in contact with certain site contaminants, the most hazardous area of the site - Indian Acres - is fenced to prevent public access. All potential health risks will be evaluated in the Risk Assessment that is part of the Remedial Investigation report. It should be complete by spring 2007.

When work is done on the site, will care be taken to keep the contamination from blowing off-site into residential areas?

Yes. During any digging in contaminated areas, such as test pits during the Feasibility Study, contractors will be required to wet the dust to keep it from blowing off-site.

Describe the types of contamination and the areas of contamination on the site.

Some of the areas of waste are:

  • Acidic tar-like sludge (mentioned in the Background section) is found in the former “Indian Acres” at the northeast part of the site and near the heliport area on the east side of the site
  • Lead contamination is found in the area known as “C Pond” on the west side of the site near Route 1, near the old Fabricating Shop, at the Land Treatment Unit, and on much of the central part of the refinery.

Illinois EPA plans to hold a Public Availability Session in Lawrenceville in March to discuss the results of the Remedial Investigation in more detail. We will mail a flyer once a date is set.

Are the wetland areas between the site and the Embarras River impacted by contamination from the site?

Indian Acres is grossly contaminated, and there is some contamination between the city-owned treatment plant and the river. At the southeast end of the site, near the former Tank Farm B, product continues to move on groundwater toward the wetlands area to the east. Contaminated water is being captured in an interceptor trench and sent to an oil/water separator where the product is retained for future use. Treated water is released and monitored per the conditions of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) permit.

Is the river adversely affected by the site contamination?

Yes. Intermittent flooding in the area of the site sometimes allows the Embarras River water to come in contact with waste areas on the site. Part of the focus of the long-term remedy at the site is to stop the influence of site-related contamination on the wetland areas east of the site and the river.

What can be done to clean up site-related contamination?

The Feasibility Study is the next step of the investigation and cleanup. Chevron has already begun research into methods for treatment and cleanup of the various types of waste. Illinois EPA expects to have a Feasibility Study Report in the fall of 2008. Illinois EPA and U.S. EPA will hold a public hearing some time after that about the proposed remedies, so the public can ask questions about them and voice any concerns or preferences.

Can some areas be cleaned up before the Feasibility Study is complete?

No. The Feasibility Study represents a comprehensive approach to review proven cleanup methods and helps establish cleanup objectives (comparison values of the concentration of a contaminant in soil, for example, that must be reached in the cleanup). No clean up actions may begin until the objectives are established for each area and type of contamination.

Additionally, the current Agreed Order only covers the remedial investigation activities. Another order will apply to cleanup actions. The underground piping must be dealt with in many areas also before cleanup can occur.

Will some of the materials have to be hauled away to a hazardous landfill?

While some of the materials may be disposed that way, it is too early to know the answer about how specific wastes will be dealt with. The Feasibility Study will bring to light the ways in which various wastes and contaminated soil or groundwater may be treated, stabilized or removed.

How soon do you expect any cleanup to take place?

If all goes as planned, we might expect to see certain areas experience cleanup as early as 2009.

For what types of reuse would the land (of the former refinery) be eligible for once it’s cleaned up?

Before that discussion can begin, Illinois EPA and Chevron need to agree upon cleanup objectives for specific types of waste material. The results of the Feasibility Study will give us a better idea of how certain waste areas may be cleaned up. This hinges on both the available technology to clean up certain wastes and the final cleanup objectives that can be agreed to. For example, a specific area of waste may be cleaned up to meet objectives for an industrial/commercial use but may not meet objectives for residential use.

For more information, please contact:

Carol L. Fuller
Community Relations Coordinator
Illinois EPA
Office of Community Relations
(217) 524-8807
Greg Ratliff
Project Manager
Illinois EPA
Bureau of Land,
National Priorities Unit
(217) 782-9882